The Loch Ness Monster Photo Hoax

The Loch Ness Monster Photo Hoax

This article will be covering the infamous 1934 cryptozoology photograph that fooled numerous investigators for over forty years – the Loch Ness monster photo hoax put together by a big game hunter, his son and a London gynaecologist…


The Loch Ness Monster

The legend of the Loch Ness monster stretches way back in history, when Saint Columba and his companions came across a fresh grave on the shores of the River Ness. The locals informed Saint Columba that the man being buried had died at the hands of a river beast – who had attacked and dragged him into the dark waters.

Columba decided to send one of his followers into the river as a form of ‘bait’…the beast appeared within seconds of him entering the water.

Saint Columba confronted the beast and made the sign of the cross in front of him, he then commanded it to return to the depths of the lake and stay there. The beast listened to the commands, and fled.

The Loch Ness Monster

This was as far as the legend stretched until the 22nd of July, 1933…


The Modern Sightings

On the 22nd of July, 1933, George Spicer and his wife reported seeing a huge beast cross in front of their car as they drove along a road by the water’s edge. They claim to have lost sight of the creature when it reached the shores of the loch.

A month later a local motorcyclist had a similar experience. He claimed to have witnessed the same beast cross the road in front of him and enter the loch. Both parties gave similar descriptions of the creature – it was a mix between a seal and a plesiosaur.

On the 12th of November, 1933, the first known photo of the Loch Ness monster was snapped by a Mr. Hugh Gray. He captured what appears to be a large sea creature with a long neck, rolling about in the waters of the Loch.

In 1934, we get to ‘The Surgeon’s Photo’…

A London Gynaecologist named Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson, claimed to have been looking out across the Loch’s waters when he spotted the beast, who had not spotted him!

He calmly reached for his camera and managed to snap several hasty images. Only two of these images turned out to be of decent quality, with the now infamous Surgeon’s Photo being the earlier of the two.

The Modern Sightings


The Daily Mail 

The famous image ended up on the front pages of the Daily Mail on the 21st of April, 1934. Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson would not allow his name to be attached to the image so the paper dubbed it ‘The Surgeon’s Photo’.

It ended up being the butt of skepticism and hope for forty years…before the Sunday Telegraph uncovered the hoax behind it in 1975.

Marmaduke Wetherell was a big game hunter and employee of The Daily Mail. In the early 1930’s he came across what he thought were the footprints of the Loch Ness Monster.

Experts were called in but shame and ridicule were on the cards for Wetherell – the footprints had been placed on the banks of the Loch by pranksters (they had been made with some sort of false Hippopotamus foot).

Marmaduke Wetherell became a laughing stock overnight.

He decided to fashion the hoax picture as a way of getting back at the newspaper that now ridiculed him.

Marmaduke’s son, Ian Wetherell, eventually handed over the details of the hoax to the press in 1975, but it was not until twenty years later that the story of the hoax was given any credibility.

A cryptozoology enthusiast named Alastair Boyd came across the 1975 hoax article and decided to look into the matter further.

Ian Wetherall was dead at this point, but he found out that Ian’s stepbrother, Christian Spurling, was still alive at the ripe old age of 93.

The Hoax

Spurling actually admitted to making the head of the beast we see in the photograph, out of wood and a toy submarine. He then placed the ‘model’ in the water and Wetherell, and his son Ian, snapped the famous image.

They then managed to get a family friend, Dr. Wilson, to hand over the photo to the Mail…

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Loch Ness monster photo hoax, please leave them in the comment section below.

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